Funkhouser, O’Keefe, and Vargas Lead George Hannon Junior Invitational
Briefly: Jackson Funkhouser fired a 4-under 67 to take a one stroke lead in the Boys 15-18 Division on Monday in the opening round of the George Hannon Junior Invitational presented by Texas Mutual at the University of Texas Golf Club. Asher Vargas leads the Boys 14 & Under Division after a first round even-par 71. Farah O’Keefe sits atop the Girls Division after carding an opening 2-under 69.
Leaders: College Station’s Jackson Funkhouser produced one of four under-par rounds and the low round across all divisions on Monday at UT Golf Club. His 4-under consisted of six total birdies, with three of them coming on the front nine which were his final nine holes. His birdie on the par-5 ninth was the one that put him in the lead heading into the Final Round. Austin’s Farah O’Keefe accounted for the lone round under par for the girls with a 2-under 69. O’Keefe amassed five birdies on the day to take a 2-shot lead heading into the final round. Springs’ Asher Vargas leads the Boys 14 & Under Division after shooting even-par 71 on Monday. Vargas made two birdies and two bogeys to card the clean scorecard in route to a one shot lead.
In Contention: Trailing Funkhouser by one stroke in the Boys 15-18 Division is Richmond’s Mitchell Maier, who shot 3-under 68 and was the third round under par on Monday. Carding the fourth and final round under par was Montgomery’s Eyan Edsall with a 1-under 70. In the Girls Division, three players sit two shots back after carding even par rounds of 71. Austin’s Ally Black and Mimi Burton, and Nirjara Gulhane of Cedar Park will all look to make a move in Tuesday’s final round. In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Dallas’ Jeffrey Rubenstein is in second at 1-over, while Austin’s Luciano Fullmer occupies third at 2-over. Dylan Knox, William Mitchell, and Jack Clancy are tied for fourth at 3-over.
Golf Course: The University of Texas Golf Club was designed by Bechtol Russell and opened in 2003. The course is set along the Colorado River and features stunning Texas Hill Country views along with a challenging par-71 layout. The course overlooks Lake Austin and borders the Balcones Natural Wildlife Preserve and has hosted the George Hannon Junior Invitational seven times now, including the last five years.
Weather: Temperatures started in the mid-80s on Monday and crept up to the high 90s by the end of play.
Tournament Format: The George Hannon Junior Invitational is a 36-hole stroke play event for players that have earned an exemption through the Texas Junior Golf Alliance or the Hannon Society. The 96-player field is one of the strongest in the state as they play 18 holes each day.
About George Hannon: George Hannon, who was affectionately called “Coach”, coached the University of Texas golf team for 18 seasons. Coach Hannon saw his Longhorns win two National Championships in 1971 and 1972, 12 Southwest Conference Titles and three individual titles. Hannon’s Horns included Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mark Brooks, Phil Blackmar, Brandel Chamblee, Rik Massengale and Paul Thomas.
About Hannon Cup Association: The Hannon Cup Association contributes to golf scholarships, supports the Austin Junior Golf Academy and hosts the George Hannon Junior Invitational and Hannon Cup Matches. Mark Coward and Brent Buckman were instrumental in conceiving the idea and in organizing and forming the initial committee for the Hannon Cup. Support was provided by a group of individuals and businesses that became known as the Hannon Society.
About Texas Mutual: Texas Mutual is the presenting sponsor of the George Hannon Junior Invitational and has been caring for hardworking Texans for more than 25 years. Taking care of people is what Texas Mutual does and that’s why they invest time, energy and resources into increasing safety, wellness and education for all Texans. Texas Mutual has been the presenting sponsor of this event for the last four years.
POY Points Race: Winners of each division will earn 1,500 points towards Player of the Year standings for the LJT.
Next Up: The Final Round of the George Hannon Junior Invitational is scheduled for Tuesday with tee times starting at 7:30 am off the No. 1 and 10 tees. Following Tuesday’s Final Round, awards will be handed to the top five in the Boys Division and top three in the Girls and Boys 14 & Under Divisions.